Shelly Sterling, wife of embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, intends to keep ownership of the team.
ESPN Los Angeles’ Ramona Shelburne reports on May 8 that Shelly Sterling plans to continue owning the Clippers, which has been the case for the past 34 years:
“Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling confirmed Wednesday that she intends to keep ownership of the team in her family despite the NBA’s move to oust her estranged husband, Donald Sterling, who was banned for life by commissioner Adam Silver last week in the wake of racist remarks he made that were published by TMZ.
“Shelly Sterling has been a co-owner of the Clippers with her husband since 1981 and is one of two alternate governors. The other, team president Andy Roeser, began an indefinite leave of absence Tuesday. The team is owned by a family trust.
“‘Commissioner Silver made it clear, that when he announced sanctions against Donald, that the NBA was taking no action against me or my family,’ Shelly Sterling said in a statement given to ESPN.
“She has hired attorney Pierce O’Donnell to represent her interests as the league moves to terminate her husband’s ownership of the team.
“‘She will not agree to a forced or involuntary seizure of her interest,’ O’Donnell said Thursday. ‘As her lawyers we will fight vigorously to defend her property rights.’
“O’Donell also told The Associated Press that Shelly Sterling has been separated from her husband for the past year and is considering divorce.
“Silver said last week that no decisions had been made regarding members of the Sterling family other than Donald.”
Donald Sterling owns a 50 percent share of the team while his wife owns the other 50 percent, according to The Los Angeles Times, citing the Sterling Family Foundation.
For its part, the NBA has dropped hints it is uncomfortable having Shelly Sterling as a Clippers owner, per The Los Angeles Times.
“The NBA has sent signals that it is uncomfortable with Shelly Sterling’s continued presence in the organization. The league let her know that it would prefer that she not attend playoff games Friday and Sunday at Staples Center against the Oklahoma City Thunder, said the NBA source. But league officials privately acknowledge that they do not know how they can prevent her from attending.
“Even if she is not included in the owners’ vote to force a sale, analysts said she might still need the approval of the 29 other owners before she can take over the team. That bid could come complicated by the fact that she, like her husband, has been accused of racial bias and other misdeeds in lawsuits related to the family’s expansive real estate holdings.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers told Shelburne “it would be a very hard situation” if Shelly Sterling retains ownership of the team.
“I don’t even want to comment on it because I don’t know yet. I think it would be a very hard situation, I’ll say that much. I think it would be very difficult. I guarantee you every person wouldn’t be on board with it.
“Whether I would or not, I’m not going to say, I just know that would be a very difficult situation for everybody.”
Clippers guard Willie Green would rather not delve into specifics when The Los Angeles Times asked him to comment on the issue. For now, it would be best for the team to focus on the ongoing playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
He said, “I just think it would be inappropriate to respond at this time. We’re trying to focus on the playoffs and not have any distractions.”
In yet another Los Angeles Times report, civil rights groups are threatening to boycott the Clippers should Shelly Sterling still be owner.
“Shelly Sterling’s intention to hold on to the Clippers in the wake of the NBA’s plan to force her husband, Donald Sterling, to sell the team has brought a strong response from Los Angeles civil rights groups, which say they will call for a boycott of the team if she does not ‘stand down.’
“Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, said in a statement that ‘Shelly Sterling’s history of bigoted actions and racist remarks has been well-documented and is every bit as odious as her husband Donald Sterling’s bigotry.’
“Hutchinson, along with a coalition of a dozen civil rights leaders, said that ‘if Shelly Sterling retains ownership of the Clippers or even a presence at Clippers games and in its operations, the call by the NBA and its players for Sterling to give up ownership would be worse than a hollow victory, it would be an affront to the players and the black community.’
“Hutchinson said that her playing a role in operations of the team would be cause for a renewed call for a boycott of Clippers games.”
Silver issued a lifetime ban as well as a $2.5 million fine on Sterling on April 29 for racist comments he made in a recorded conversation with his girlfriend, V. Stiviano.